Baltimore City Circuit Judge Lynn K. Stewart Mays has consented to a five-day suspension without pay for what judicial-conduct investigators called her “sarcastic, embarrassing, demeaning, humiliating and mocking” behavior toward a criminal defendant, his fiancée and a defense attorney in two separate cases.
Maryland’s top court handed down the agreed-upon sanction in an order Tuesday morning. It includes an additional suspension of 25 days, which will be put on hold for now and lifted if Mays’ successfully completes a two-year probationary period with the state Commission on Judicial Disabilities, the Court of Appeals’ Consent Order stated.
The five-day suspension must be completed within 30 days, the order added.
Mays’ attorney, Andrew Jay Graham, said the judge has acknowledged her behavior was inappropriate and it will not be repeated.
“Judge Mays has always worked hard as a judge,” said Graham, of Kramon & Graham P.A. in Baltimore.
“She’s always strived to be efficient and polite,” he added. “At the same time she is a human being and on two occasions she failed to live up to her own standards of civility. She is committed to an appropriate demeanor at all times in the future, no matter what stresses may come with the job.”
The high court’s order followed an “Agreement for Discipline by Consent” that Mays and Graham reached this month with Carol A. Crawford, the commission’s investigative counsel.
In the agreement, Mays admitted she had violated the Maryland Code of Judicial Conduct by mocking defendant Shaun Broadnax in open court on Oct. 19, 2012, calling him “catatonic” and telling the sheriffs that “you all know he’s having a problem.” Broadnax was in court for a violation of probation hearing.
When Cole’s fiancée rose to speak on his behalf, Mays asked her “where’s the ring?” and told her to “sit down and keep your mouth shut” because “the liberty you save might be your own.”
As for the second matter — an unrelated post-conviction proceeding on Jan. 23, 2013 — Mays admitted she told defense attorney Rachel M. Kamins to stop arguing “with the court because you’re going to lose. I don’t care if I’m right, wrong, indifferent. I could be speaking Swahili, you’re going to lose. You know why? One, I’m the judge. Two, I’m the judge. Three, I’m the judge.”
Kamins, who filed a complaint about Mays with the commission, declined via email to comment on the judge’s case Tuesday. Kamins is with Offit|Kurman in Maple Lawn.
According to the commission, Mays violated provisions of the Maryland Code of Judicial Conduct that require judges to behave in a “manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity and impartiality of the judiciary”; “avoid conduct that would create in reasonable minds a perception of impropriety”; perform judicial duties “impartially and fairly [and] without bias or prejudice”; ensure the right of interested parties to be heard; and be “patient, dignified and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers” and court staff.
Under terms of her two-year probation, Mays must meet with a mentor judge chosen by the commission.
She must also permit the commission’s investigative counsel to randomly review audio/video recordings of proceedings over which she presides.
In addition, Mays must not be “charged with conduct that results in a disposition of any complaint more severe than a dismissal or dismissal with a warning,” the agreement states.
The Court of Appeals’ Consent Order came one day after a scheduled public hearing on the charges against Mays, 51. The commission had postponed the hearing last week without explanation.
Mays, an appointee of then-Gov. Parris N. Glendening, has served on the circuit court since Jan. 22, 2002.
“She is a valuable member of the bench,” Graham said. “She is a good judge. She will be an even better judge in the future.”
Mays did not return a telephone message seeking comment.
Court of Appeals Judge Shirley M. Watts, who served with Mays on the circuit court, did not participate in the high court’s consideration of her case, In the Matter of Judge Lynn Stewart Mays, Misc. Docket (Subtitle CJD) No. 1, Sept. Term 2014.